(BIVN) – Humpback whales (koholā) and volunteers are being welcomed back by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary for the 2024 Sanctuary Ocean Count scheduled for January 27, February 24, and March 30.
According to a news release, volunteers for the annual count must register in advance, and participation is limited for each Sanctuary Ocean Count site.
Volunteer registration goes live on Monday, January 8, 2024 at 12 noon HST. Registration and more information about Sanctuary Ocean Count is online at oceancount.org.
From the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary:
Since 1996, the annual Sanctuary Ocean Count has promoted public awareness about humpback whales, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and shore-based whale watching opportunities. Site leaders and volunteers tally koholā sightings and document the animals’ surface behavior during the surveys, which provides a snapshot of koholā activity from the shorelines of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i Island. Sanctuary Ocean Count is supported by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
The Pacific Whale Foundation conducts the Great Whale Count on Maui, on the same dates as Sanctuary Ocean Count. More information can be found at pacificwhale.org.
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is administered by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the State of Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources, and protects humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaiian waters where they migrate each winter to mate, calve, and nurse their young.
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports national marine sanctuaries by protecting species, conserving ecosystems, and preserving America’s maritime heritage through on-the-water conservation projects, public education, and outreach programs.